Press-Republican

Local News

August 8, 2013

Appeals tossed in tribal election

AKWESASNE — Beverly Cook is the newest chief of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Council after election officials dismissed challenges to the July 13 special election.

A date for a swearing-in ceremony has not been announced, but Cook will begin her three-year term shortly, according to a news release from the Tribal Council.

Four appeals were filed challenging the outcome of that special election, which had been called after an appeal was upheld of the June 1 election results for chief and sub-chief.

The unofficial vote totals on June 1 had incumbent Chief Randy Hart receiving 436 write-in votes compared to 376 for Cook, 109 for Gary Cole and 47 for Gerald Laughing.

Incumbent Sub-Chief Shelley Jacobs was also the unofficial winner on June 1, when she tallied 434 votes compared to 297 for Debra Martin, 174 for Andrew Cook and 47 for Jolene Jackson.

An investigation by the Tribal Election Board determined that there were irregularities in the June 1 voting and deemed the results null and void.

The board then ordered the special election held with the same slate of candidates on the ballot.

This time, on July 13, Beverly Cook was the top vote-getter with 477, compared to 22 votes for Cole and 451 write-in votes for Hart. Jacobs received 416 votes for sub-chief compared to 366 for Martin, 120 for Andrew Cook and 15 for Jackson.

Election officials said this week that four appeals were made to the July 13 results, and hearings were held for each appeal to be heard and weighed by Election Board members.

“Each appellant was given the opportunity to meet with the Election Board to discuss their appeal,” the release said.

In a final report issued by the board, the members determined that each claim was either “wholly inaccurate” and dismissed or did not prove there was a violation of the community’s voting ordinance, the release states.

The full report is available at www.srmt-nsn.gov.

Email Denise A. Raymo:draymo@pressrepublican.com

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